"A twentieth-century classic, uncannily smart, incredibly learned."--from the foreword by Bart Ehrman
This book challenges traditional Christian teaching about Jesus. While his followers may have seen him as a man from heaven, preaching the good news and working miracles, Smith asserts that the truth about Jesus is more interesting and rather unsettling.
The real Jesus, only barely glimpsed because of a campaign of disinformation, obfuscation, and censorship by religious authorities, was not Jesus the Son of God. In actuality he was Jesus the Magician. Smith marshals all the available evidence including, but not limited to, the Gospels. He succeeds in describing just what was said of Jesus by "outsiders," those who did not believe him.
He deals in fascinating detail with the inevitable questions. What was the nature of magic? What did people at that time mean by the term "magician"? Who were the other magicians, and how did their magic compare with Jesus' works? What facts led to the general assumption that Jesus practiced magic? And, most important, was that assumption correct?
The ramifications of Jesus the Magician give new meaning to the word controversial. This book recovers a vision of Jesus that two thousand years of suppression and polemic could not erase. And--what may be the central point of the debate--Jesus the Magician strips away the myths and legends that have obscured Jesus, the man who lived.